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Invasive Species: Water Hyacinth
*Not detected in Michigan*
This species is currently allowable for sale and possession in Michigan. If these plants are observed outside of cultivation, please report to:
EGLE Aquatic Invasive Species Program EGLE-WRD-AIP@Michigan.gov.
If possible, please take one or more photos of the invasive species you are reporting. Also make note of the location, date and time of the observation. This will aid in verification of your report. You may be asked to provide your name and contact information if follow-up is needed.
- Or - use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool
- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone - MISIN.MSU.edu/tools/apps/#home
- Erect, free-floating perennial herb.
- Short, bulbous leaf petioles.
- Distinctive air bladders that keep leaves afloat.
- Rounded, leathery leaves arranged in whorls of 6-10.
- 14-day flowering cycle produced lavender flowers with central yellow fleck.
Photo courtesy of Wilfredo Robles, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org.
Photo courtesy of Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org.
Photo courtesy of Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org.
Habitat: Mainly a tropical and sub-tropical weed growing in freshwater systems. Water hyacinth is not tolerant to temperatures below freezing for long periods of time, nor is it tolerant of high salinity water.
Native Range: Amazon basin.
U.S. Distribution: Water hyacinth has been introduced to at least 25 states and is widespread in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Local Concern: This invasive species forms dense colonies in water bodies that block sunlight and crowd out native species. At optimum temperatures, it can double its biomass within a month. Dense colonization can also impede boat traffic, reduce water flow and interfere with hydroelectric power generation.
Means of Introduction/Spread: Boat traffic, flooding, water flow, human transport, aquaculture release.